The Romance Dish is tickled pink to be part of the exciting 2017 Berkley Bookmas! I'm especially delighted to be hosting today's spotlight author, Anne Graciewith an excerpt from her upcoming April 2018 novel, Marry in Scandal.This is the second book in Ms. Gracie's Marriage of Convenience series and one I'm especially eager to read. If you haven't read the first book in the series, Marry in Haste, I highly recommend it. (Read our Just Between Us review here.) Berkley Bookmas is filled to the brim with exclusive content from authors like exclusive excerpts, deleted scenes, author recipes, and more! Check out the calendar of events below:
Scandal ~ Anne Gracie
“I have secured a duke for the opera
tonight,” Agatha, Lady Salter announced with an air of triumph. Bone thin and
immensely elegant, her steely silvery hair intricately coiled, piled high and
bound into a kind of turban, she fingered her lorgnette with long fingers and
eyed her three nieces with a critical gaze.
Rutherford, Lady Salter’s youngest niece, swallowed. She sat with her sister
Rose on the chaise longue
facing the old lady. George, technically a great-niece rather than a niece,
lounged casually on the armrest of a nearby chair.
sing?” Rose idly twirled her fan. “I had no idea.”
“Don’t be facetious, Rose,” Aunt Agatha
snapped. “You know very well why I have arranged this opportunity—it’s for you
in particular.” She added, “As well, he is bringing two friends, one of whom—”
She broke off,
her eyes narrowed. Lily tensed as the old lady raised her lorgnette. It was a
warm day and Lily’s thighs were sticking together, but she didn’t dare move. Aunt
Agatha despised fidgeting.
But her gaze
came to rest meaningfully on George, who gave the elderly dowager a bland smile
in return and stayed where she was, one leg swinging in an unladylike manner.
“Georgiana! Are you wearing breeches under that habit?”
shrugged, entirely unrepentant. “We’re
just back from our morning ride.”
The old lady
closed her eyes in a ‘heaven-help-me’ expression, muttered something under her
breath, took a deep breath and continued, “As I said, the duke is bringing two
of his friends, and one of them might be interested in you, Georgiana—though
not if you sit like that! Or wear breeches. No gentleman of taste—”
“And one of
them might be interested in Lily.” Rose smiled warmly at her sister.
glanced at Lily. “Perhaps,” she said dismissively. She raised her lorgnette and
raked it critically over the person of her youngest niece.
what was coming, sucked in her stomach and held her breath. But it did no good.
“I see you
have failed to follow my advice about the diet that was so effective for Lord
Byron, Lily. You’re as fat as ever.”
fat,” Rose flashed angrily. “She’s lovely and rounded and cuddly. But not fat!”
she did try that dreadful diet,” George said. “For two whole weeks and
it made her quite sick for no result. Potatoes drenched in vinegar? Ghastly.”
sacrifice for the sake of beauty,” Aunt Agatha said with all the complacence of
a woman who had never had to diet in her life.
beautiful as she is.” Rose squeezed her sister’s hand comfortingly. “We all
“Better to be
sweet-natured and cuddly than a nasty, well-dressed skeleton.” George gave a
meaningful glance at Aunt Agatha.
Lily tried not
to squirm. She hated this, hated people quarreling over her, hated it when Aunt
Agatha examined her through her horrid lorgnette—as she did every time she
visited. Under that cold, merciless gaze, Lily always felt like a worm—a fat,
unattractive, stupid worm. And she couldn’t bear another evening of it.
“I’m sorry but
I can’t come to the opera tonight,” she found herself saying. “I have a—a
There was a
short, shocked silence. Rose and George blinked and tried to conceal their
gaze, her eyes horribly enlarged through the lens of her weapon of choice,
bored into Lily. “What did you say, gel?”
but held her ground. “I said, I have a prior engagement.” She pressed her lips
together. She was hopeless at arguing;, she always gave in eventually, so it
was better to say nothing.
gripped her carved ebony stick in a bony grasp and stamped it on the floor. The
floor being covered by a thick Turkish rug, the effect was rather lost. “Did
you not understand me, you stupid gel? A duke and two of his friends have
agreed to join our party at the opera. A duke! And two other
eligible gentlemen. And you say you can’t come? What nonsense! Of course
you will come!”
Lily eased her
fingers out of her sister’s grasp. Now her hands were sweaty, as well as her
thighs. She wiped them surreptitiously on her skirt and said with as much
dignity as she could muster, “I was under the impression you had issued an
invitation, Aunt Agatha, not an order.”
Shy young heiress, Lady Lily Rutherford, is in no hurry to marry. She dreams of true love and a real courtship. But when disaster strikes, she finds herself facing a scandal-forced marriage to her rescuer, Edward Galbraith, a well known rake.
Despite his reputation Lily is drawn to the handsome Galbraith. In the gamble of her life, she agrees to marry him, hoping to turn a convenient marriage into a love match.
As heir to a title, Galbraith knows he must wed, so a convenient marriage suits him perfectly. But there is a darkness in his past, and secrets he refuses to share with his tender-hearted young bride. All Lily's efforts to get close to him fall on stony ground, and in desperation she retreats to his childhood home--the place he's avoided for nearly a decade.
Must Lily reconcile herself to a marriage without love? Or will Galbraith realize that this warm-hearted, loving girl is the key to healing the wounds of his past--and his heart?
Only lucky person who enters the giveaway will receive a $100 Visa Gift Card
The Lady Travelers Guide to Larceny with a Dashing Stranger By Victoria Alexander Publisher: HQN Release Date: November 28, 2017 Reviewed by PJ
She must secure her future A lady should never be obliged to think of matters financial! But when Lady Wilhelmina Bascombe’s carefree, extravagant lifestyle vanishes with the demise of her husband, her only hope lies in retrieving a family treasure—a Renaissance masterpiece currently in the hands of a cunning art collector in Venice. Thankfully, the Lady Travelers Society has orchestrated a clever plan to get Willie to Europe, leading a tour of mothers and daughters…and one curiously attentive man. He must reclaim his heritage
Dante Augustus Montague’s one passion has long been his family’s art collection. He’s finally tracked a long-lost painting to the enchanting Lady Bascombe. Convinced that the canvas had been stolen, he will use any means to reclaim his birthright—including deception. But how long before pretend infatuation gives way to genuine desire? Now they’re rivals for a prize that will change everything
Willie and Dante know they’re playing with fire in the magical moonlit city. Their common quest could compromise them both…or lead them to happily-ever-after. Victoria Alexander's second Lady Travelers Society novel is a sparkling gem filled with witty dialogue, intriguing characters, and a delightful romance that unfolds against the backdrop of some of Europe's oldest and most beautiful cities. I didn't want to put it down. Willie and Dante are so much fun! Poor Dante. He's a brilliant businessman, passionate about his art and his family, who accompanies his sister and niece on the mother/daughter tour being "hosted" by Willie with one goal in mind: retrieve his grandfather's painting before Willie can. He's had the lady thoroughly investigated, of course and expects what rumor and reputation suggest. What he discovers is someone more complex, more intelligent, more challenging, more lovely. Will his goal change mid-stream? Will the lady become more important than the painting? Will she ever forgive his deception? Will his sister spend the rest of her life saying, "I told you so?" I adored Willie. Growing up without the loving guidance of caring parents, she eloped with her charming husband at a young age and embarked upon a madcap life that was all parties and fun. It all comes to a crashing halt when she finds herself a widow at twenty-eight, is deserted by all of her "friends," and discovers her philandering husband has left her not just penniless but in debt. Recovering the painting left to her by her grandmother will bring her the much-needed funds to ensure her survival. Hosting the tour is a means to an end. She doesn't expect to enjoy it - or the people on it - quite so much. She doesn't expect to discover how much more she really is, or to make friends, real friends, or to find love - the deep, lasting, genuine kind. But will that love survive Dante's deception? I enjoyed Alexander's first Lady Travelers book but this one is even better. The entire cast of characters is a delight, vibrantly drawn and encouraging the reader to know them better. I'm hopeful some of them will show up again in future Lady Travelers books. The cities visited on the tour are also characters of a sort. Alexander's descriptions are a feast for the senses, making me feel as if I were right there with Willie, Dante and the others, absorbing the history, the scenery, and the romance of their destinations. It made me want to book a tour of my own! If you enjoy witty banter, heart-felt romance, and characters that leap from the pages, all set within some of Europe's most fascinating cities, book your own tour with Willie and Dante in Victoria Alexander's The Lady Travelers Guide to Larceny with a Dashing Stranger. Do you enjoy road romances? Have you read any of Victoria Alexander's books? Do you have a favorite book or series? What countries would you most like to tour? One randomly chosen person leaving a comment will receive a copy of The Lady Travelers Guide to Larceny with a Dashing Stranger. (U.S. / Canada only)
I'm delighted to welcome the Harlequin Winter Holiday Traditions (+Reads) Blog Tour to The Romance Dish today. One of my favorite holiday traditions is curling up on the sofa under the glow of the Christmas tree with a cup of hot chocolate (laced with Kahlua is even better) and losing myself in a good book. Today, I'm happy to share an excerpt from one of Harlequin's Winter Reads: Can't Let Go, the emotional fifth book in New York Times Bestselling Author, Gena Showalter's The Original Heartbreakers contemporary romance series.
Excerpt from Can’t Let Go by Gena Showalter
He was back.
Ryanne Wade poured her world-famous
fruit cocktail moonshine—affectionately known as CockaMoon—into a small mason
jar and, as discreetly as possible, watched as Jude Laurent prowled through her
bar. And okay, the moonshine wasn’t exactly world famous but regionally famous.
Okay, almost regionally famous; made from her personal recipe, it was
distilled at a local brewery and sold exclusively at the Scratching Post.
Jude had once called the drink Downfall
in a Glass. Or DIG. Like, you’re digging your own grave, Wade. Just to
get a rise out of her, she was sure.
The former army ranger was a new resident
in her hometown, and one of three co-owners of LPH Protection, a security
firm. Sometimes he looked like a brawler from the maddest, baddest streets, yet
other times he looked like a businessman fresh from a boardroom negotiation—and
he’d won. Tonight, he was a bona fide brawler, ready to throw down and heat
women up. He wore a black T-shirt, ripped jeans and combat boots. Leather cuffs
circled his wrists, and three silver rings glinted on his fingers. His version
of brass knuckles?
No matter his
persona du jour, he was always as gorgeous and tempting as sin—and an
all-around pain in Ryanne’s backside.
He really churned her butter.
Usually he only blessed the Scratching
Post with his exalted presence when one of his two friends required a
designated driver. He never ordered anything but water, and never spent a dime
or even left a tip for the waitress unlucky enough to serve him. Namely
Ryanne. Not even the insulting kind of tip: a note on a napkin. Fetch my
drinks faster next time, and you’ll get cash.
The worst thing about him? He liked to
stand at the jukebox and intimidate patrons with a death-ray glare. Oh, and
let’s not forget how he sometimes attempted to police the door, commanding
people to sit and stay as if they were dogs, simply because they’d had a sip of
The nerve of the man. And the body on
Ryanne fanned her flushed cheeks. Time
to crank up the air conditioner. Because no, her boiling blood had nothing to
do with Jude’s sexy, muscled, delicious, sexy, mouthwatering, sexy good looks.
Not too long ago—okay, okay, soon after
meeting Jude—Ryanne had decided to nix her ban on romantic relationships and
pick someone to date. The timing was purely coincidental, of course, but her
hormones had been out of whack ever since.
Besides, even if she did want Jude, she
wouldn’t go after him. Despite his surly attitude, females young and old
continued to approach him in droves, stealthily or not so stealthily dangling
their bait, but he never even nibbled. He might as well have Off Limits
tattooed on his forehead.
Was tonight the night he relaxed and had
a little fun?
over her as he cast a dark, brooding glance in her direction. He had
collar-length blond hair
with the slightest wave, eyes bluer than
a morning sky, and the body of a surfer: lean, muscled and bronzed. But he also
had a perma-frown. To her knowledge, he’d never smiled, joked or laughed, and
he’d always radiated scary-hot menace and aggression.
If he ever smiled…goodness gracious, her
hormones might explode from lust overload!
Of course, he had a good reason for his
bad attitude. A few years ago, he lost his entire family in a terrible car
accident; his wife and twin daughters were gone in the blink of an eye. Talk
about the ultimate heartache. Ryanne reckoned guilt and grief ate at him on a
daily—hourly—basis. And she absolutely 100 percent empathized.
But come on! His troubled past didn’t
give him the right to accuse her of duplicitous flirting practices in order to
boost return visits, and oversalting snacks to ensure patrons remained thirsty.
First, she wasn’t a plain, ordinary flirt; she was flirtish, and there was a
difference. She wasn’t after conquests but smiles. Second, how would Jude know
anything about the food? He hadn’t tasted a single dish she served.
For some reason, he’d pegged Ryanne as a
villainess at their first meeting, and his opinion of her hadn’t changed.
Dang him. I’m as sweet as sugar, and
probably tastier to boot!
When he turned on his heel and headed
her way, a frisson of electricity raced through her. Their gazes locked once
again, and his step hitched—so did her breath. The sight of him, drawing nearer
while fully focused on her…
Keep your cool, mi querida.
Can't Let Go by Gena Showalter Publisher: HQN Release Date: October 31, 2017
New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter is back with a
sizzling Original Heartbreakers tale about an icy war vet and the only woman
capable of melting him… With
trust issues a mile long, Ryanne Wade has sworn off men. Then Jude Laurent
walks into her bar, and all bets are off. The former army ranger has suffered
unimaginably, first being maimed in battle then losing his wife and daughters
to a drunk driver. Making the brooding widower smile is priority one. Resisting
him? Impossible. For
Jude, Ryanne is off-limits. And yet the beautiful bartender who serves alcohol
to potential motorists tempts him like no other. When a rival bar threatens her
livelihood—and her life—he can’t turn away. She triggers something in him he
thought long buried, and he’s determined to protect her, whatever the cost. As
their already scorching attraction continues to heat, the damaged soldier knows
he must let go of his past to hold on to his future…or risk losing the second
chance he desperately needs.
Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over
fifty books, including the acclaimed Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the
Dark series, and the White Rabbit Chronicles. She writes sizzling paranormal
romance, heartwarming contemporary romance, and unputdownable young adult
novels, and lives in Oklahoma City with her family and menagerie of dogs. Visit
her at GenaShowalter.com.
Have you read any Christmas romances yet this year? Have you read any of Gena Showalter's The Original Heartbreakers books? What's your Christmas reading beverage of choice?
Christmastime Cowboy By Maisey Yates Publisher: HQN Release Date: October 24, 2018 Reviewed by PJ
It's Christmas in Copper Ridge, and love is waiting to be unwrapped… Falling for a bad boy once is forgivable. Twice would just be foolish. When Sabrina Leighton first offered her teenage innocence to gorgeous, tattooed Liam Donnelly, he humiliated her, then left town. The hurt still lingers. But so does that crazy spark. And if they have to work together to set up her family winery's new tasting room by Christmas, why not work him out of her system with a sizzling affair? Thirteen years ago, Liam's boss at the winery offered him a bribe—leave his teenage daughter alone and get a full ride at college. Convinced he wasn't good enough for Sabrina, Liam took it. Now he's back, as wealthy as sin and with a heart as cold as the Oregon snow. Or so he keeps telling himself. Because the girl he vowed to stay away from has become the only woman he needs, and this Christmas could be just the beginning of a lifetime together… Christmastime Cowboy is the sixteenth story in Maisey Yates' popular Copper Ridge series and my first. It's the fourth and final story for the Donnelly brothers and, though it stands on its own, there were times I found myself wishing I knew more about the characters and their backstory. For maximum enjoyment and understanding of the characters and relationships at the heart of this book, I would suggest reading the four in order: Slow Burn Cowboy, Down Home Cowboy, Wild Ride Cowboy, and Christmastime Cowboy. I'm a fan of second chance romances and second chances are at the heart of Liam and Sabrina's story. Their first chance - when Sabrina was 17 and Liam was 20 - never really got off the ground. Given time, it may have but they were both young and both dealing with family issues that impacted their decisions, even if they weren't fully aware of it at the time. Liam, in particular, had a difficult past that was at the heart of the way he viewed himself, relationships, and the people he never let get close. And, when he left abruptly, the emotional wounds Sabrina suffered followed her for the next thirteen years...until Liam returned to Copper Ridge and they were forced to confront all they had been...and hadn't been...and could possibly be. This is not a fast-paced book, especially in the first half. The pace picks up in the second half but, still, it's not a quick read. There's a lot of emotion at play with individual, familial, and romantic issues to be sorted through and the author takes her time in doing so. Liam is not especially likeable (at least, not to me) in the beginning and I found Sabrina's thirteen-year grudge a bit annoying but as their stories began to unfold, I found myself warming up to both of them. Liam's story, in particular, broke my heart and had me pulling for a happy ending for him. I also enjoyed watching Sabrina come into her own. Their actions felt authentic along with their emotions and their sizzling desire and by the end, I happily embraced their HEA. Other characters help move things along, adding dimension to the story without turning the focus away from the main couple. All in all, Christmastime Cowboy was a satisfying story that has me eager to read the other Donnelly Brothers books and looking forward to the author's new Gold Valley series. Launching that series on February 20, 2018 will be Smooth-Talking Cowboy, featuring a key secondary character from Christmastime Cowboy. I've already added it to my book calendar. Do you enjoy heart-tugging, emotional Christmas romances? Do you like family-centric romance series? Have you read any of Maisey Yates' Copper Ridge books? One randomly chosen person leaving a comment before 11:00 PM, December 6 will receive a copy of Christmastime Cowboy. (U.S. / Canada only)
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